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Thursday, 10 March 2011

e-textbooks in schools: what do you need to think about?

Here in Australia school administrators and teachers are already beginning to think about next year.

In terms of converting over to e-textbooks for 2011 they've already missed the boat, but are beginning to think about what would be involved in implementation in 2012.

So what factors need to be considered?
The list below is by no means complete and you may like to suggest things to be added.

  • are you happy with the text books that you have?
    Do you want to replace any of them? Source new ones?
  • If you convert to e-textbooks what device will you deliver them on?
    netbooks, laptops, iPads, other table device
    What specs will the device need?
  • who owns the device? will the school buy it and lend it out? or can the students get the text on a device of their choice?
  • What sort of budget do you have?
    There is an impression that converting to e-textbooks will save money.
    Unfortunately that is not the way it is working at the moment.
    In general your e-textbook will cost approximately 50% to 70% of your made-from-paper one. You are basically leasing it and at some stage it will expire or self-destruct, probably at the end of the school year, but perhaps after 2 years.
  • who will supply devices for the teachers? And how will you encourage them to explore the productivities that come with e-textbooks?
  • Are you aware that your e-textbook has no resale value? And unless it actually comes originally as a CD that oyu own, then oyu won't be able to transfer it from one device to another because of restrictive DRM practices.

My advice:

  • Talk to your current textbook suppliers, tell them you are interested in the e-text scenario, and ask them what they can do for you
  • Talk directly to the publishers of your current text books and ask the same questions. Be sure to include questions about cost.
  • Ask your teachers to look for alternatives to their current text books.

Posted via email from You Are Never Alone

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